1916 9 In Proverbs 14:23, we read: "In all labour there is profit; but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury." Even as regards prayer, in which we are exhorted to continue and to watch therein with thanksgiving (Col. 4:2) there is such a thing as "labouring fervently," as Epaphras did, of whom the apostle writes as "a servant of Christ," whose heart's desire was that his Colossian brethren might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Col. 4:12). It will be no talk of the lips, if, instead of thinking of our prayers as something meritorious, we remember the One we are privileged to address, the Name we are authorised to plead, and who has said, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." What an immense comfort is this! To doubt would be to dishonour Him who "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all," for "how shall He not with Him also, freely give us all things." Paul to the Corinthians speaks of himself as "in labours more abundant," and to the Colossians, in whom was Christ, the hope of glory, he says "Whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ, whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working which worketh in me mightily" (Col. 1:27-29). Let us remember that the reward in the coming day will not be according to the success which the servant may here have seemed to have achieved, but "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour."

In Rom. 16:12, amongst the salutations, Tryphena and Tryphosa are alluded to as, "who labour in the Lord," and "the beloved Persis who laboured much in the Lord," and in Phil. 4:3, these "women who laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life," which blessed fact as to themselves had not rendered them careless about those who have no hope. The apostle "laboured and suffered reproach because he had his trust in the living God who is the Saviour (or Preserver) of all men, specially of those who believe," a ground of confidence infinitely to be preferred to uncertain riches "Your work of faith and labour of love "are remembered along with "the patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God and our Father" (1 Thess. 1:3). "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love which ye have showed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister" (Heb. 6:10). Truly labour in the Lord has many a sphere for its activities.

Besides the foregoing there is a labour we are apt to neglect, namely, a labour to enter into that rest "which remaineth for the people of God." Doubtless we shall better do so if "we labour that whether present or absent we may be accepted of Him," or as another has translated it, "Wherefore also we are zealous, whether present or absent, to be agreeable to Him" (2 Cor. 5:8). If we wish to serve well our God and Father and the Lord Jesus, such service has, of course, its cares, but these are included in the "casting all your care" upon Him. It has its secrets, as John 2:9 shows: "the servants who drew the water knew," and in result it should lead to increased communion. Much more might be written on this subject, but let this suffice: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:38). W.N.T.